I admit it. I’m a regular at coffee drive-thrus. I make up lots of excuses to justify this little indulgence: I’m on vacation, I deserve it, it’s really hot outside, it’s really cold outside, etc. In truth, it’s all a big fat cup full of rationalization. In my defense, my most common beverage of choice this time of year is unsweetened iced tea. Most local spots and national chains have a nice selection of flavors and I can get twenty glorious icy ounces of refreshment for virtually no calories.
While it’s a pretty safe choice nutritionally, financially it can really add up. So, I try to balance my convenience habit by making my own healthy beverages at home. I’ve got two favorite recipes to share with you (if you can call “mix fruit with water” a recipe). I sampled a version of the first one at Plum Bistro in Seattle and fell in love. (Can you fall in love with a glass of water?) It’s actually just the basic water they give you when you get seated and it’s worth making yourself. The perfect mix of citrus and cucumber is the most refreshing water I’ve ever had. And, that’s saying something.
My other favorite is a mild iced tea kicked up with the tang of fresh raspberries.
I didn’t include nutrition analysis for these “recipes” because I don’t think I could accurately estimate how many calories left the fruit and became part of the water. I feel safe saying that they’re extremely low in calories, probably in the ballpark of fewer than 10 calories per 16 ounces. So sip away, carefree. There is nothing to rationalize here.
What’s your favorite (healthy) cool beverage for a hot day?
Kristine Duncan, Registered Dietitian
I’m a Registered Dietitian, the author of Veg Girl RD, and a vegetarian who loves to eat. I’m a nutrition nerd who teaches at the University of Washington and Skagit Valley College. I also write about nutrition professionally for magazines and books. If you want to know more, check out my About page.